So you are a little late to the party and have not jumped on the thrill ride that is the world of fantasy football. Fear not, your good buddy Tim is here to ease you comfortably into the cut throat, trash talking, no holds barred world of fantasy football. The first thing to know, is don’t listen to any guides. That’s right, don’t even listen to me. Here’s why. Fantasy football is all about opinions. Can I tell you to take DeMarco Murray over Darren McFadden? I could, but you shouldn’t listen, especially if you trust DeMarco Murray’s knee’s about as much as you do the judgement of Anthony Weiner. If I have Murray over McFadden in my rankings, all that means is he is my preference. It’s possible I’ve owned Darren McFadden in leagues before and now refuse to draft him again because of his own injury troubles. (Common practice among fantasy football players). My point here is that there is no right and wrong way to approach fantasy football. Expert rankings are great when you are first starting out, and might not be familiar with the 150-200 fantasy relevant players in the league on any given year. If you have a functional knowledge of the game, and its players, trust that, and improve it by learning more about players, their history’s and of course watching their play. So here is a very straight forward “how to” for your first steps into fantasy football world.
Step 1. Find a league.
Whether you are going to play with 9 of your good friends, or register on one of the many on-line sites which host fantasy football leagues, the first thing you need to do is decide where to play. I am going to recommend the site where I host my league, the Maritime’s Fantasy Football league, www.fleaflicker.com I’ve played in leagues on Yahoo, ESPN, CBS sports and NFL.com but Fleaflicker has been the best of all for myself and the rest of our guys. This is another preference, you will likely try a few of them out before deciding which site fits your needs and has a format you are comfortable with.
Step 2. Preparing for the Draft
On-line live drafts are the way to go if you aren’t doing an in-person draft with your buddies. (Highly recommend this, it’s our favorite day of the year!). So before your on-line draft you will register with the site, lets use ESPN as the running example from this point on, log-in, go to the fantasy football home page, click your league, open your draft application and you are ready to draft. Now, by this point there is something very important that you would have wanted to accomplish before draft day, your homework. Chances are if you’re going into a league with guys or girls who have their tires well greased in the nuances of fantasy football and you don’t do your homework, you’re going to end up looking like the 2008, 0-16 Detroit Lions. No one wants that. Not even Packer Fans. So find out everything there is to know about your league. Number 1 on this list. Scoring. What are players going to receive points for during games, and how many? This is crucial. If quarterbacks get 4 points per touchdown, instead of 6 points, logic says, quarterbacks are going to be a little less valuable in this league. Another major scoring choice is whether or not your league is a standard scoring league, or a PPR league (Point per reception). The difference here is, in a PPR league, players are awarded 1 point for every reception they make. Why does this matter? Quite simply it changes how you should approach the drafting of certain players. I’ll give you two very clear examples. Darren Sproles, and Wes Welker. Here is how standard scoring and PPR scoring look, and compare.
NOTE: In most leagues you are awarded 1 point for every 10 yards gained, and touchdowns are worth 6 points.
Darren Sproles Stat line
30 rushing yards || 70 receiving yards || 8 receptions || 1 Touchdown
Standard scoring points = 16
PPR scoring points = 24
Wes Welker Stat line
80 receiving yards || 9 receptions || 0 Touchdowns
Standard scoring points = 8
PPR scoring points = 17
Big differences. Especially during the draft when you are deciding between Darren Sproles and Stevan Ridley in a standard league. That should be an easy choice. It’s Ridley, he doesn’t have a big impact catching the ball, and would likely score a significant number of touchdowns more then Sproles. PPR on the other hand, and you can make a great case for Sproles who has the potential to catch anyhere between 75-90 balls per year. Same thing when choosing between Welker and a player like Vincent Jackson. Jackson catches fewer passes, but has the potential for equal and likely more yards, and almost certainly more touchdowns. Standard scoring, Jackson, PPR, likely Welker.